Tips on Balancing your Work and Family
Today’s family unit has evolved into a technologically-driven, on-the-go challenge with parents attempting to do it all at work and at home. It’s hard to balance a career and family life when your work is basically tethered to your hip as more companies are imposing their needs into your time off. How do you know when you are fighting a losing battle?
Here are a few common scenarios:
You are constantly running out of time to complete tasks.
The dry cleaning needs to be picked up, or you have to go grocery shopping but are getting off work late and just don’t have the energy. One day has turned into five when you realize you don’t have anything to wear or you have to order takeout.
You are constantly stressed at work and at home.
Everything sounds like “noise.” The kids want to talk and you don’t want to be bothered, or a co-worker needs some information on a project and you make up an excuse to make them go away. This is a clear indication of you being stretched too thin and that your stress level is sky high.
You don’t have time for the kids.
You’ve missed another football game or dance recital and homework time is over by the time you get home. Most of the time, the kids are on their way to bed or already in bed so you don’t even get to see them anymore. The only communication you have is when you text them during the day.
You are always working late.
Deadlines are always eating up your time and your workload is continuously growing, creating an environment where you have to work late to keep up.
You procrastinate with co-workers or are on the web throughout the workday.
Your work has become so boring and monotonous that you find reasons to talk to co-workers and surf the web, causing a backlog in your work.
You neglect your spouse and close friends.
You only see your spouse early in the morning and late at night and have forgotten a few engagements you committed to. Red flags are everywhere.
You never have a minute to yourself.
Every time you plan to relax, something else comes up and you never have time to do the things that you enjoy.
While unplugging used to be the ultimate solution, it’s just not that easy anymore. With more BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) solutions in the workplace, balancing family and work life can be difficult. Although these scenarios are a part of your everyday situation, there are things you can do to ease the crunch, keep everyone happy and find time for yourself.
Here are a few tips to help you get back on track:
Keep the Family First
- Everyone needs gainful employment, and keeping your job is important. While necessary to take care of the family, jobs come and go, but your family is always there. Putting that fact into perspective should help you find the time to spend with the kids and your spouse. Arrange a date night, a family night and quick “staycations.” Put these in your calendar as standing appointments. When you are with the family, refrain from checking your email unless it is absolutely necessary. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your family is to leave your work at the office. Here are some fun things you can do throughout the week:
• Exercise with the kids
(go running, bike riding or to the park)
• Have a family cook-off
• Select programs to watch together
This can be easier said than done and will take some getting used to. Set reminders for everything – checking email, getting up in the morning, taking time to exercise, date time with your spouse, time for the kids and anything else that is important. Do two sets of reminders, one for the office and one for home. Let them overlap so you will be able to see how productive you can be and get everything accomplished, get home on time and enjoy the rest of the day without working late.
Make a list of the things that are important to you. One by one, eliminate the “fillers.” What you have left is a list of the things that cannot be put on the backburner. These are the things for which you must set reminders and make time.
Have “ME” time
This may mean you have to get up an hour earlier, or you have to start taking lunch breaks, but everyday take some time just for yourself to reflect and recharge. If you have gotten into the habit of working through lunch, now is the time to eliminate that bad habit and get your life back!
These are just a few ways to reassess your obligations, de-stress and put the focus back on you and your family to tip the scales of balance back in your favor.
Allaire Williams is a freelance writer and mother of three children.